After 2022 crackdown, NIA files first chargesheet against PFI in Rajasthan
The PFI and its eight affiliate organisations were banned under the stringent unlawful activities (prevention) act (UAPA) on September 28, after a nationwide crackdown by NIA and ED.
The national investigation agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed its first chargesheet in its probe against Popular Front of India (PFI), which was banned after a nationwide crackdown on its office bearers in September-October last year.
The chargesheet has been filed against Mohammad Ashif alias Asif of Kota and Sadiq Sarraf of Baran (Rajasthan), who are trained members of PFI.
“They were involved in recruitment and radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth for the PFI for committing violent acts. They were also found involved in organising training camps in handling of weapons and explosives, instigating PFI cadres to pick up arms and raising funds for carrying out violent activities. They were also found actively promoting enmity between different religious groups in India and motivating the youth to resort to violent means to establish Islamic rule in the country,” the NIA spokesperson said on Tuesday.
This particular case was registered by the NIA in September 2022.
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“Asif and Sarraf radicalised gullible Muslim youth by brainwashing into believing that Islam was in danger in India and it was therefore essential for PFI cadres and the community to train themselves in use of arms for protecting Islam and establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047. They were collecting funds in the name of Zakat for procurement of weapons and organizing weapon and explosives training camps for PFI cadres,” the spokesperson added.
The PFI and its eight affiliate organisations were banned under the stringent unlawful activities (prevention) act (UAPA) on September 28, after a nationwide crackdown by NIA and enforcement directorate (ED) led to arrests and recovery of purported incriminating documents from offices and residences of the outfit’s office bearers.
The NIA is probing at least 19 cases linked to the organisation.
Over 100 PFI activists including its chairman OMA Salam were arrested after a crackdown by the NIA and the ED in 15 states in September last year.
A ministry of home affairs (MHA) notification on September 28, 2022, which outlawed PFI for five years, said the outfit was involved in several criminal and terror cases and shows sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority of the country and with funds and ideological support from outside it has become a major threat to the internal security of the country.
Also read: National Investigation Agency raids 7 locations linked to PFI in Rajasthan
Noting that PFI has international linkages with global terrorist groups, MHA had said some of its members joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
A UAPA tribunal presided over by Delhi high court’s Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, is currently holding hearings to review whether the PFI ban was justified or not; a legal procedure after every banning under the act.